Guest Blogger Robert Hansen

It’s been quite a summer!

As Jimmy Buffett says in Come Monday, “it has been quite a summer” for UPCEA because some of your colleagues were engaged in the very important business of searching for a new CEO/Executive Director for UPCEA.  Due to the excellent leadership of President Judy Ashcroft and the efforts of the search committee we were very pleased that Dr. Robert Hansen accepted the position.  Bob brings a wealth of experience to the position that includes working in government, working at a public and private institution, several years as a leader of a professional and continuing education unit, and he has also been active and is passionate about UPCEA.  We couldn’t be more pleased to have Bob on board.

Bob began his first week in the national office this week and I’ve asked him to be a “guest blogger” on Shaeffer’s Forays to give us an idea about how this first week as the new CEO/Executive Director is going.  Welcome and thanks Bob.

My (CEO/ED Bob Hansen) First Week at Dupont Circle

Change can unleash creativity.  Or so we have been told by modern philosophers, organizational management gurus, and other connoisseurs of chaos and uncertainty.  Like many of you when you began your positions, I began my work in the national office with certain preconceptions.  Preconceptions about the office itself.  About the staff I had worked with as a commissioner and board member, and about their respective roles.  About the proper role of the executive director.  And about living and working in the Washington area.   After a holiday-shortened first week, most of my preconceptions have…evolved.  There is but one thing of which I am certain: the traffic in DC is even worse than advertised!

But in truth, there are two other important takeaways from my first week that I’d like to share.  First, the staff at the national office has been incredibly welcoming and helpful, especially in the light of the passing of their dear colleague, Tim Sloate.  I have talked to each and every staff member, and one thing is clear: they are ready for transformational change and eager to contribute their talents to something new and exciting.  There was energy in the room when we brainstormed ideas—what we might stop doing so we had the capacity to embrace new priorities, how we might do this or that program or publication differently, etc.

Second, I’ve been touched and humbled by the expression of good will and support from members across the country.  I received countless cards, emails, telephone calls, and even gourmet cheese and crackers from a Texas colleague!   I know each and every one of the members who wished me (and us) well.  I am excited about this opportunity to serve the association precisely because I am still your colleague, still a continuing educator by background and instinct.  Together, we will work on a change agenda that keeps what is valuable, discards what is not, and adds what is necessary to support the needs of your own institutions and units.

Next week, at the Executive Assembly in Chicago, I will begin a two month listening tour that will take me to each regional conference.  I look forward to seeing you and hearing your ideas about how to make UPCEA an even more valuable resource than it already is.

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